#MeToo: How the movement was “born” – What does the hashtag mean?

Her Eleni Karamitsou

With the revelations in the theater and the allegations of sexual harassment and abuse taking the form of an avalanche with the developments being rapid, many are talking about a #metoo movement in Greece. It is a social movement, with various variations on local and international names, against sexual abuse and harassment where people publish allegations of sexual crimes.

How the phrase “Me Too” started

The phrase “Me Too” was first used in this context on social media in 2006, and specifically on Myspace, by the victim of sexual harassment and activist Tarana Burke. Similar to other social movements that seek justice and empowerment, this is based on the need to break the silence. The purpose of Me Too, as first expressed by Burke and later by others who adopted this tactic, is to empower women through empathy and solidarity, through the power of numbers, especially for young and vulnerable women, by publicly presenting how many women survived sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.

The movement began to spread more and more in early October 2017 after many women complained against Hollywood strongman Harvey Weinstein accusing him of sexual assault, as published in the New York Times, while the hashtag #MeToo became widely known on social media due to of Alyssa Milano that on October 15, 2017 the American actress in a post on Twitter called women who were sexually harassed or assaulted to write in their situation Me Too, a prompt followed by many celebrities while the extensive media coverage and dialogue for sexual harassment, especially in Hollywood, has led to loud dismissals, harsh criticism and strong reactions. After millions of people started using the phrase and hashtag in this way in English, the expression began to spread to other languages. The hashtag #quellavoltache is typically used in Italy and the hashtag # UykularınızKaçsın (#MayYouLoseSleep) in Turkey.

In this sense, its scope is very wide, but Burke recently referred to it as an international movement for justice for marginalized people in marginalized communities. She accepts the title of “leader” of the movement but stressed that she considers herself more of a “worker”. The movement, according to Burke, refers to both women and men, of all ages and races. There are also movements by men that aim to change culture through personal reflection and future action including #IDidThat, #IHave, and #IWill.

The term of the term

2006- Tarana Burke

He first used, as we mentioned, the term on Myspace in 2006 to promote “empowerment through empathy” in women of color who had been sexually abused. Born in the Bronx, he grew up in a poor family. When he was a child and teenager he was raped and sexually assaulted. Her mother encouraged her to help those who went through the same things as her. She moved to Alabama where she gave birth to her daughter and raised her alone, as a single-parent family. Burke made a documentary called “Me Too” and said she was inspired to use the phrase after she could not answer a 13-year-old who confided in her that she had been sexually assaulted. Burke later said she wished she had just said “Me too” to the girl.

2015 -Abra Gutierrez

In 2015, the New York Times reported that Weinstein had been questioned by police after a 22-year-old accused him of touching her inappropriately. She was the model Abra Gutierrez, originally from Italy and the Philippines, who in 2015 had gone to the New York police complaining that Weinstein fisted her breast and put his hand inside her skirt. In fact, he wore a microphone to have audio evidence of his misconduct, which was later published in the New Yorker. But the Manhattan Attorney’s Office decided not to prosecute the case. Gutierrez had appeared in court at Weinstein’s sentencing hearing and expressed her condolences, although she admitted she was worried the case would not go ahead. “I am very happy because it is like winning all these years I lost in the process trying to bring him to justice. So yes, I am happy now.” When her story was made public in 2015 and Weinstein was arrested, the woman received negative tabloid coverage. “The media treated me negatively. Everyone was trying to cover him up. I really feel now that we are changing that. This is essentially the biggest victory, to open people’s eyes and make everyone understand what is happening,” Weinstein said after his conviction.

2016 – Russia and Ukraine (Anastasia Melnichenko)

In July 2016, a post on social media went viral by Ukrainian journalist Anastasia Melnichenko. Thousands of women and some men in Russia and Ukraine began posting their personal stories of sexual harassment and assault on social media with the hashtag #IAmNotAfraidToSpeak. The original post in Ukrainian was about sexual harassment in the family, on the streets, by an ex-partner, but not in the workplace.

2017 Alice Milan

On October 15, 2017, Alyssa Milano encouraged women to use the hashtag #MeToo following complaints about Harvey Weinstein. The actress posted the following on her Twitter account: “If you have been sexually harassed or abused, write me too in response to this tweet and repost a friend’s post:” If all women who were sexually harassed or sexually assaulted wrote “Me too” in their situation, we would show people the dimension of the problem “noting that he got the idea from a friend. Several celebrities followed, including Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lawrence and Uma Thurman. The next day, October 16, 2017, Milan wrote: “I found out about a previous #MeToo movement and the origin story is just as sad and inspiring”, providing the link to Burke’s website. during a concert when he was 19. Several hashtags related to sharing stories of sexual harassment in the workplace were used even before #MeToo, including #MyHarveyWeinstein, #WhatWereYouWearing (on March 12, 2014 there was a question on Twitter “What Were You Wearing When You Were Assaulted?”) (what were you wearing when you were attacked?)).

The role of #MeToo

Analyzes of the movement often underscore the prevalence of sexual violence, which the World Health Organization estimates affects 1/3 of women worldwide. In 2017, according to a poll by ABC News and the Washington Post, 54% of American women accept inappropriate sexual proposals, with 95% saying that such behavior goes unpunished.

Others argue that #MeToo underscores the need for men to intervene whenever they witness such inappropriate behavior. Burke noted that #MeToo states that victims of sexual violence are not alone and should not be ashamed. Burke also points out that sexual violence is usually caused by a woman acquaintance, so people should be educated from an early age that they have the right to say “no” to sexual intercourse by any person, even after repeated harassment by an Authority or even a spouse, and report aggressive behavior. At the same time, the activist advises men to discuss consent and criticize derogatory behavior when they see it and try to listen to the victims when telling their stories.

For her part, Alyssa Milano said that #MeToo helped society understand the “magnitude of the problem” and that “it is solidarity with all those affected.” He stressed that the success of #MeToo requires men to take a stand against the behavior that treats women as objects. He also argued that #MeToo’s priority is to change the laws on sexual assault and sexual harassment, for example by introducing protocols that allow victims from all walks of life to file complaints without retaliation.

Time: #MeToo the new “face” of the year

In December 2017, the American Time magazine chose the social movement #MeToo to raise awareness against sexual harassment and abuse, which developed on social media, as the “most influential person” in 2017, the director announced. “It’s the fastest-growing social change we’ve seen in decades, which began with individual acts of courage by hundreds of women and some men as well – who came forward to tell their own story,” he said. that these people “broke the silence”. As more people made public allegations of sexual harassment or abuse, other people shared their own experiences, often posting on social media joining their voice through the hashtag #MeToo (Me too).

#MeToo in Greece

It all started with the complaint of Sofia Bekatorou. From the moment the Sailing Olympian broke the silence, she gave strength and courage to women and men victims of sexual abuse and harassment as well as victims of verbal and physical violence to break the law of silence and talk about their tragic experience but also to claim justice years after the event that stigmatized their souls. The hashtag #eimasteoloimazi is used in Greece.


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